Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0160/2009

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 25/03/2009 - 8
CRE 25/03/2009 - 8

Votes :

PV 26/03/2009 - 4.8
CRE 26/03/2009 - 4.8
PV 22/04/2009 - 6.36
CRE 22/04/2009 - 6.36

Texts adopted :

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20 March 2009
further to Questions for Oral Answer B6-0017/2009, 0018/2009, 0019/2009 and 0020/2009
pursuant to Rule 108(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Hélène Flautre, Caroline Lucas and Cem Özdemir
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
on the Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan

European Parliament resolution on the Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan 

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council and Commission decision (5144/1999),

–  having regard to Article 133 and Article 300(2), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty,

–  having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C5-0338/1999),

–  having regard to Rules 51 and 83(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6-0085/2006),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for placeCentral Asia(1),

–  having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas relations between the European Communities and placeTurkmenistan are currently governed by the Agreement on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation concluded between the Communities and the placeplaceUSSR in 1989; whereas this agreement does not contain a human rights clause,

B.  whereas the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related Matters of 2 December 1998, concluded between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part (COM (1998)0617 final, 98/0304(ACC)), is now undergoing approval in the Council,

C.  whereas a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan was initialled in May 1997 and signed in 1998; whereas since then 11 Member States have ratified the PCA – France, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Greece still have still to do so – and the 12 new Member States will ratify it by means of a single protocol; whereas Turkmenistan ratified the PCA in 2004,

D.  whereas the PCA, once fully ratified, will be concluded for an initial period of 10 years, after which it will be renewed annually, provided that neither of the parties terminates it; whereas the parties may expand or amend the PCA or elaborate further on it, in order to take new developments into account,

E.  whereas Turkmenistan plays an important role in the Central Asia region, so that close cooperation between it and the European Union is desirable,

F.  whereas the situation in Turkmenistan has improved since the change of President; whereas the regime has indicated its willingness to carry out major reforms; whereas substantive progress is still needed in several key areas, such as human rights, the rule of law, democracy and individual freedoms,

G.  whereas the proposed Interim Trade Agreement (ITA) between the European Communities and Turkmenistan stipulates respect for democracy and human rights as a condition for cooperation,

H.  whereas the Interim Agreement would therefore have to be signed at a stage when this condition for cooperation has been met; whereas the European Parliament resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia established six benchmarks that must be met before the Interim Agreement can be signed;

1.  Notes that after the change of President in Turkmenistan there are signs of an ambition to carry out reforms in key areas; welcomes in particular the creation of a National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights; takes note of the process of revising the Constitution, which aims to strengthen democracy, individual freedoms and the rule of law; notes, further, the revision of the electoral law; welcomes Turkmenistan’s accession to international conventions such as the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women; welcomes the reforms of the educational system, aiming at higher quality and more equality for students;

2.  Calls on the Turkmen Government to move swiftly towards democracy and respect for the rule of law; considers that fulfilment of the benchmarks established by the Parliament could be considered a substantial step forward towards establishing a basis for respect for fundamental human rights, namely the need for the unconditional release of all political prisoners, the abolition of governmental impediments to travelling abroad, free access for independent monitors, including the International Red Cross, the UN human rights bodies and independent NGOs, and the need to substantially reform the educational system in accordance with international standards;

3.  Regrets that in several fundamental areas the situation is still unsatisfactory in spite of some efforts to negotiate free access for the International Red Cross and steps to initiate the reform of the educational system; welcomes the release of Valeri Pal on 7 December 2008 but insists on the release of all political prisoners; is however concerned that the repentance is still a precondition for suspending sentences, which does not represent a transparent and legal process in line with international standards;

4.  Firmly believes that EU engagement with Turkmenistan, if pursued in a principled and consistent manner, offers the best prospect for securing meaningful improvement of the democratic, economic and social situation of the Turkmen citizens;

5.  Sees the prospect of signing the Interim Agreement as a important contribution to strengthening the reform process in Turkmenistan; calls on the Council and the Commission to make full use of this crucial leverage by clearly articulating, prior to the signing of the Interim Agreement, specific human rights improvements that it expects from the Turkmen government and, to that end, to adopt a roadmap with clear timelines for compliance;

6.  Calls at the same time on the Council and the Commission to make due reference to the benchmarks established by the European Parliament resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia in their exchanges with the Turkmen Government concerning the prospects for the Interim Agreement;

7.  Calls on the Council and Commission to include a consultation mechanism within the human rights clause, including a clear suspension human rights clause in the PCA; requests the Council to act in accordance with any request from the European Parliament to suspend this agreement;

8.  Stresses the need to further encourage these developments by the European Union, notably by promoting, as a priority, human rights and democracy projects making use of EU funding instruments; underlines that the government’s activities have to be carefully and regularly scrutinised;

9.  Asks the Council and Commission to keep it regularly and substantively informed about the human rights situation in placeplaceTurkmenistan;

10.  Calls on the Council and Commission also to include a revision clause in the PCA; asks to be consulted on any revision of the PCA;

11.  Points out that the PCA requires its assent in order to come into force; whilst the ITA unfortunately does not require its assent, calls for the points raised in this resolution to be taken fully into account, since otherwise its assent to the PCA might be jeopardised;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of Turkmenistan.

(1) P6_TA(2008)0059.

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